December 21st 2004, 20:00
The Drill Hall
16 Chenies Street
London WC1E 7EX
(My first gig in a long time – Des de Moor asked me to play a short set at Pirate Jenny’s at their new home, The Drill Hall 2. As the headliner was going to be Barb Jungr (guaranteeing an instant sell-out), and the venue was very small, I didn’t tell anyone about it. As it turned out, Barb had to pull out, and the audience was smaller than usual. Still, it was fun. No photos, I’m afraid. It didn’t seem appropriate. This from my diary at guitarcraft.com)
I leave for the gig at 6:30, getting there at about seven and greet Des and Robb, tonight’s MC and headliner respectively. One thing I realise on the bus is that it’s such a long time since I used the guitar (nylon-string electro-acoustic) plugged that perhaps the batteries don’t work any more. As turns out to be the case. Interesting that there’s no panic, we just drop the DI idea and the sound guy sets up an extra 58. A couple of minutes’ tweaking and it all sounds quite acceptable.
Mr Harrod arrives and plays some songs with Des (unamplified, it’s that small a room) while I go to Tesco’s and get a bottle of water.
Kick off at 20:00 – early, I know, but then the Drill Hall closes early. Des does his set, while I sit backstage (not exactly a green room) and then do the Tai Chi stretching exercises while trying not to snag my hands on the overhead cables. I also leave my glasses off for this gig.
It goes well – the set list is The Things You Get, 9.8m/s2, 100 Horses and Iodine. The first and last are sort of preordained and the two middle ones are the two most recent completed OST songs. There are some bummers – in particular I have a problem with sticky fingertips on the strings, and stumble during the complex bits. But these aren’t important – bummers are just glitches in execution, not errors of intention. There was a difficulty with the original headliner, so it’s not quite full, and I didn’t tell anybody because I thought it’d already be sold out. But it’s good to play to a crowd that I wouldn’t recognise if I was wearing my glasses.
Not really being able to see the audience in detail makes it easier to point my eyes at them, and not catching the expressions on their faces also helps (if you think the glum expressions of performers’ faces are bad, you should see some of the faces that audiences pull sometimes) but nonetheless it’s possible to pick up vibes from them, which again feels supportive. I elect to say as little as possible (following the recording that was made down here, where I ended up editing out almost all my intersong chat. It sounded better without).
Song over, acknowledge audience, backstage, complete.
During the break I chat to Dave, and then when he goes home, I slip in and watch Robb’s set. Very strong, and some excellent new ones (of these, two stand out, one very political, the other more personal, both very good indeed).
After the show I’m asked whether I have CDs (“no,sorry, but there are MP3s”) sheet music (“Uh, what?”) available. It’s possible that The Things You Get may be played to schoolchildren, though not, thankfully, by me.